How Much Should I Charge As A Web Designer?

Today I’d like to talk about one of the most popular questions I get asked and I’ve been asked since I’ve been in this industry is, how much do you charge and how do you set your prices? That’s pretty the toughest question from any designer. In fact, when I was getting into the business online industry it was constant question. How much do you charge for this? How much do you charge for that? What about this project? What about that project?
So, I’m going to basically go through my thought process when I deal with a client and hopefully that will help you apply it to your business. Now, one of the common questions I always get asked is not overall pricing but hourly rates. Which hourly rate? And that can depend on a lot of things.
Now, that brings me probably to my first category. There is a few categories you got to think about when you are dealing with pricing a client’s job. One thing you have to figure out is who you are dealing with. Are you dealing with IBM corporate or are you dealing with a big TV studio like Universal Fox, anything like that or are you talking a mid-sized company, Technology Company, locally, nationally whatever it may be, or are we talking modern pops restaurant down the street. That’s one thing you going to find out. Who are you dealing with, because right then when you get an idea that will give you an idea of the value of the project? Are we talking a corporate annual IBM annual report for an IBM corporate convention, or are we talking a Chinese takeout menu for a local restaurant down the street? That’s one thing you need to find out on who you are dealing with and talk to them a little bit and just really learn about -you also get a little bit more details in the project, as well. Learn about their company and get the feel of how big or how small they are.
The details of the project I usually handle – I get into a little bit of the details of the project but not too much because what I want to do is I also want to talk about budget fairly soon within the first 5 to 10 minutes I want to talk about money. And I know a lot of designers out there are very intimidated on talking about even touching that subject, but you got to deal with it because that’s going to save you so much time. You could sit here and spend 3 hours on the call with a person and then find out at the end that this person has $50 in their pocket to spend. So, that’s what you have to find out.
Setting A Budget
So, what I’m trying to do is when I talk about budget with them and a lot of clients are very hesitant to talk about budget. So, it’s tough subject to talk about but if you are dealing with a larger company, they have marketing directors it’s usually common question for them to easily don’t mind sharing it. If you’re dealing with a smaller company that’s never dealt with a designer before then you might have a hard time getting that out of them.
So, what I usually do is say;
“The reason I am asking about budget again is I’m, first of all, trying to find out if this client is realistic and has a sense of the value of some of the material we are going to be, hopefully producing.”
“Also it gives me an idea of their expectations. If I’ve had clients ask me to do a business card and they gave me their budget I was thinking may be a few hundred dollars for designing a simple business card and they gave me the budget and it was like $5000. And I said okay, then I guess this person wants to spend a lot of time on the stationary. So you got to really get an idea of their budget because that’s definitely going to give you a clue to what type of project are you looking at?”
So, once you come up with all the rating and give you an idea of hourly rates just in designers in terms of design firms. Hourly rate can be for the person hitting the payment for the first time, getting out there. Once they get their name out there you could be looking at either from 15 to $35 an hour just to give you – that’s just a rough average. It can be up, it can be down whatever it may be. But if you are aggressive and you really want to work and you want more work coming into the door I would probably start in that range.
Hourly Rates
If you are a professional, you’ve been out there anywhere, I would say $20 to probably $50 and up as a freelance designer. If you are a design firm you can be anywhere from $75 to about $150 to $200 an hour depending on what you are doing.  So, keep that in mind. That’s what I’m talking about when I talk about your expertise. So, that kind of gives you an idea about that.
The Nitty Gritty
Now, what I do is talk about the details of the project and get some information from them. Now, once I have established a budget now I want some more details of the project. I’ve profiled the budget. If I’ve seen that they are realistic and they do have some adequate budget then I continue and get more details of the project. Find out what they are doing, if they are doing a brochure, great. Get, how many photographs of the brochure? Are they supplying the photographs? Are they supplying the copywriting for it?  Are we going to need to do the copywriting all that kind of stuff?
So, that basically should give you a sense of the pricing. And how I price people is, the first thing I usually do is I give them a rough range, usually just over the phone without giving them an estimate. I kind of give them, okay this may cost you anywhere from whatever $1500 to $2000 or $1500 to $3000 and if you need to give them a rough range give them a rough range. A lot of clients out there are just pre-shopping. I have had marketing directors call me and they are just. It seems like they really pre-shopping and they really haven’t even discussed the details of a project then we know what they are wanting. So, right there and there it’s really tough to give them an estimate period. So, why waste your time with it? I would give them a rough range, give them an idea of what you charge and then have them get back to you, basically.
So, keep that in mind. That’s pretty much it. I hope I covered most I could. Hope this helps.
Lee is a web designer and graphic designer from Plymouth, Devon and has just launched his new site, please stop by and pay me a visit.